You want to keep the bugs out of your garden, but you don’t want dangerous chemical pesticides seeping into your soil or sticking to the leaves—especially if you’ve got pets or kids!
Here are some safe, organic alternatives. Many of them are cheap, remarkably easy to use, and won’t hurt your health. Now that’s good news for your garden, and your family.
Get the ‘good guys’
There are bad insects, and there are good insects. Bees help pollinate the flowers, and a ladybug is not only said to bring good luck, but they also feed on aphids! So don’t spray any insects that look like baby alligators. They’re ladybug larvae, and if you let them grow they can be your garden’s effective (and cute) soldiers. Another beneficial insect is the green lacewing.
Put a bird feeder
Birds feed on insects, and so a bird feeder (or planting sunflowers) can help control the pest population. They’re also one reason why you don’t want to use pesticides. Once they eat any insects that have been exposed to poison, they can get sick!
Cover plants with a net
You can buy light netting at your favorite garden supply store. These will keep away flying insects while allowing sunlight and water to seep through. They’re crucial for vegetable gardens (flea beetles like to feed on cabbage, and Mexican bean beetles can destroy your crop of green beans).
Kill them with soap
While tending to your garden, pick out any slugs and hornworms (or knock off any moths) then drop them into soapy water. The soap will kill them.
Even if you don’t smoke, the tobacco plant is a natural insect repellant. Slugs and aphids hate this plant and will steer cleer of it! Or, you can unroll cigarettes, mix the tobacco into water, and pour this into the soil.
Make a mulch barrier
Mulch and other simple barriers can help keep unwanted bugs away from your plants. You can get these at any garden supply store.
Boost your plants’ immune system
Healthy plants are more resistant to disease and any attacks from pests. Use compost or any organic fertilizer—like crushed egg shells!
Try a petroleum spray
Mix petroleum oil and water and put in a spray bottle. This is a potent pesticide that has been used for hundreds of years. It is completely natural and doesn’t damage the soil. And, it is non-toxic for pets and young children. (Read our article on how to protect kids from pesticide poisoning for more tips.)
Photo from photoalbum.davison.ca